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Celebrating visionary arts innovators: RWCMD announces Honorary Fellows 2023

As the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama counts down to its 75th anniversary next year, it welcomes five exceptional people in the arts into its community as Honorary Fellows.

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Published on 15/06/2023

They will each be honoured at RWCMD’s graduation ceremony on Friday 7th July at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall.

This year the College welcomes as Honorary Fellows:

  • Lisa Burger CBE, previously executive director and joint chief executive of the National Theatre.
  • Jonny Cotsen, writer, performance artist, and creative access consultant to the arts,
  • Philip Harper, arranger, composer, and musical director of the College’s Brass Band in Residence, the Cory Band.
  • Ursula Jones OBE, co-founder of the English Chamber Orchestra and former manager of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.
  • Rakhi Singh, violinist, composer, and co-founder and music director of Manchester Collective.
‘A huge welcome to our new Fellows - each of them a visionary and innovator in their field,

Coming from major institutions like the National Theatre and Cory Band, to breakthrough initiatives like Manchester Collective, they offer immediate inspiration for the College community.

Their distinctive excellence and bold thinking are wonderful examples of just what we need as we continue the journey to transform professional training for the future and enable emerging artists to make a real difference as they step onto a global stage.’
Helena GauntRWCMD Principal

They join RWCMD’s prestigious list of Fellows, awarded each year to honour artists who have achieved distinction in the creative and performing arts industries, building inspiring relationships with the College and its work.

RWCMD Honorary Fellows 2023

Originally from Cardiff, as executive director and joint chief executive of the National Theatre, Lisa Burger CBE has been central to creating the National Theatre as it is today and making world-class theatre accessible to new audiences across the UK with the pioneering NT Live. She also co-founded Renew Culture, the organisation behind the Theatre Green Book, which aims to create a sustainable future for theatre.

Writer, performance artist and creative access consultant to the arts, Jonny Cotsen is a passionate advocate for better access to the arts. Alongside his advisory work with Arts Council Wales and other arts organisations, he runs inclusive drama workshops and is a Deaf Equality trainer for people with and without disabilities.

Arranger and composer, Philip Harper is the musical director of the College’s multi-award-winning Brass Band in Residence, Cory Band – hailed as the Top Brass Band in the world. Alongside this he has been the musical director of National Youth Brass Band of Wales four times. A world leader in the genre of Brass Bands, he travels the world sharing the story of Brass Banding in all its forms.

Arts entrepreneur, co-founder of English Chamber Orchestra and former manager of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, Ursula Jones OBE has devoted her life to supporting young musicians, ensembles and composers, providing support, performing opportunities and professional mentoring to ensure the development of classical music. She is a long-standing champion of RWCMD talent, linking prize winners and musicians in need to performance and funding opportunities, as well as supporting the Colleges’ Philip Jones Brass Ensemble competition, and acting as an ambassador for the College.

Violinist, composer and musical leader Rakhi Singh is also co-founder and music director of Manchester Collective, known for creating innovative, disruptive work that captures hearts and minds in a bold and new way. Reflecting the College’s belief in collaboration across art forms and disciplines, working together with the Collective has produced some of RWCMD’s most exciting and memorable performances and student experiences.

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